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Charities last to be told by people that they have moved house

Howard Lake | 18 September 2015 | News

People who move house leave charities to the bottom of the list of organisations they inform of their new address, presenting a challenge to charities to maintain currency and accuracy of donor data.
Research by Wilmington Millennium found that 75% of individuals place charities at the bottom of the list of organisations they would notify of their new address.
They would give top priority to employers, schools, government agencies and financial services. Charities are ranked lower than the milkman, window cleaners and magazine subscriptions. Indeed, when people were asked whom they would inform on moving house, charities were ranked among the ‘non-essential to inform’ organisations, including retailers and entertainment providers such as gym and bingo memberships.


The lack of accurate addresses for donors could be a significant challenge to charities, given the importance of retaining existing donors. At the very least, direct mail sent to the wrong address is wasteful and costly.
Fortunately charities can mitigate this challenge by communicating with donors via other channels, such as the telephone and email, provided they have asked for those details and gained permission to use them.

39 change of address notifications

Not surprisingly, notifying the right people and organisations of a change of address is a tedious business for many people. Survey respondents told Wilmington that they would have to tell 39 organisations that they had moved. This task would take 10 hours to complete, according to Wilmington’s calculation.
Although the majority of organisations quoted accepted telephone notification, a number of them, including doctors and banks, require written or in-person notification. Only a minority enabled consumers to change their address online.
They are also data products from organisations like Wilmington Millennium that help organisations track and identify home movers.


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Speed of notification

Survey respondents told Wilmington how quickly they would advise different organisations of their change of address:
* essential to inform – told within three weeks of a move
* important to inform – within two months
* non-essential – not told at all

Order of priority for change of address

Here are Wilmington’s findings about how individuals rank whom they would tell about a house move.
Essential to inform
1. Employer and schools
2. Government: DVLA, council, HMRC, Child benefit
3. Financial: banks, building societies, credit cards, store cards, insurance providers, loan providers, HP providers, pension, savings
4. Online accounts and catalogues: eBay, Amazon, Paypal
5. Utility: Gas, electricity, water, landline, mobile, internet, TV
Important to inform
6. Healthcare: doctors, hospitals, dentists, opticians and vet
7. Loyalty: Supermarkets, Avios
8. Automotive (other than DVLA): insurance, breakdown, finance
9. Trades: milkman, cleaner, window cleaner
Non-essential to inform
10. Entertainment: magazine subscriptions, bingo, gym
11. Retailers
12. Charities
Karen Pritchard, Product Director, Wilmington Millennium, commented on the importance to charities of tracking home movers:

“People are moving home more than ever before; an average of eight times in a lifetime. Consequently, it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to keep to track of their customers, particularly as this research highlights, they may not even be informed. As we all know it costs far more to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one. It therefore makes economic sense for retailers, charities, entertainment providers and any essential or important organisation not confident in their single customer view, to invest in goneaway products. These identify home movers, track them to their new address and provide the details of the new occupants.”

Wilmington Millennium’s research was conducted via SurveyMonkey in September 2015. It received 148 responses and is not representative of the population. They used the hypothetical question ‘thinking about moving house how would you prioritise the following?’ Respondents were not asked if they were recent or current home-movers.
Image: New home – Nobuhiro Asada on Shutterstock.com